His request to turn approver in the Sohrabuddin case will be heard on October 15

The special CBI court on Tuesday further postponed the hearing on the application of the suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police, Narendra Amin, to turn approver in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi murder case. The hearing is now scheduled for October 15.

The CBI has agreed to accept him as an approver on the condition that he spills the beans on the other accused. But eight co-accused in the case, including the former DIG, D.G. Vanzara, the principal accused, and Rajkumar Pandian, have opposed the application.

The hearing of the CBI's application for a voice test of five of the accused, including the former Ahmedabad Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abhay Chudasma, was also postponed till October 15. The CBI wanted a voice test because it believed that one of the most important evidence in the case would be the telephonic conversation between the accused, including the former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah.

The special CBI court rejected the bail applications of two police constables Ajay Parmar and Santram Sharma. The CBI in its charge-sheet had said that they were not directly involved in the fake encounter, but were merely carrying out fringe assignments at the instance of their seniors, including Mr. Vanzara.

Campaign issue

The Sohrabuddin fake encounter is figuring prominently in the on-going campaign for elections to six municipal corporations in the State scheduled for October 10, with the main rivals — the BJP and the Congress —trying to use the CBI investigation to hit out at each other.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushama Swaraj, addressing women's rallies in Surat and Ahmedabad, said the municipal corporation elections this week and the panchayat elections later this month would be Gujarat's reply to the attempts by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to harass Opposition leaders using the CBI. The arrest of Mr. Shah was only a small part of the Centre's “larger design” to target Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP women's wing chief and television star Smriti Irani claimed that the Congress, with the help of the CBI, was “arm-twisting” senior IPS officer Geetha Johri to give a statement against Mr. Modi. She claimed that the CBI threatened that her husband, a forest department officer, would be “targeted” if she refused to cooperate.

Congress leaders, including the former Chief Minister, Shankarsinh Waghela, and leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil claimed that Sohrabuddin was a member of the BJP since the Jan Sangh days and was running an extortion racket with the blessings of the ruling party leaders. Mr Waghela also said that Mr. Modi deliberately made the CBI his main target in the municipal election campaign only to cover the BJP's dismal failures in improving civic amenities in all the six municipal corporations controlled by the party.

Meanwhile, the former State Director General of Police, P.C. Pande, appeared before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team at its Gandhinagar office on Tuesday in connection with the 2002 communal riot cases. Mr. Pande was issued summons earlier, but he could not respond to the calls then as he was away on a religious tour to Kailash-Mansarovar.

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